Friday, April 11, 2008
Thanks to Elaine + Mark over at my fave tennis social networking site Tennisopolis for sending me the images and video of Novak Djokovic + Maria Sharapova at Opium in Miami for the Sony Ericsson player party.
Let's set the scene: Nole + Maria arrive separately to the party and take a fun photo with Maria's Hollywood friend Camilla Belle.
Next they're photographed with Nole's arm lovingly wrapped around the Russian. Fast forward to the end of the evening - Maria + Camilla are filmed exiting Opium and getting into an SUV. As the car is about to leave, a certain someone (who looks a bit nervous to me) jumps into the backseat as the group takes off.
Click here and see for yourself.
I know they constantly dismiss the rumors that they're dating, and Nole was dating Jelena at one point. But the proof is SO in the puddin' this time baby!
(image via tennistalk.com)
Thanks to DtL! reader Marcell for sending us this tip:
Venus Williams and rumored fiance golfer Hank Kuehne were spotted at the Masters yesterday strolling behind Hank's brother Trip, an amateur golfer.
V is taking time off for an undisclosed medical reason that her agent, Carlos Fleming, claims is not serious. The 6-time Grand Slammer will make return next month at the Italian Open.
Could the couple be getting married during this break?
(image via Getty)
Maria "Shriek"apova made her debut at the Bausch + Lomb Championships on Amelia Island and reached the quarterfinals after fighting her way to a tight 3-set win over Spaniard Anabel Medina Garrigues.
The Russian fashionista also debuted the Nike Paris Tennis tank + skirt, an outfit some thought she might wear to Roland Garros. I like the femininity of the whole look and the beautiful detailing on the tank, but the color white-washes Maria. In any case, one mystery solved!
I still think she'll wear the Paris Dress in dark obsidian + chalk but based Nike's sneaky Aussie Open switch-a-roo, we can't be too sure (good luck buying your French Open fashions retailers.)
(images via AP)
Andy Roddick made his first appearance since his great Miami run, taking questions from the press with the US Davis Cup team. The Americans will battle a struggling French team this weekend in Winston-Salem, NC.
The usually clean-cut A-Rod turned up at the press conference with a hairy situation, sporting a hideous 'do courtesy of his fiancee Brooklyn Decker:
Q. Andy, what is the story behind the good-looking hairdo there?Phew! Good to know that wasn't done on purpose. One never knows with these matters...
ANDY RODDICK: I lost a bet.
Q. I thought it was the good luck 'do.
ANDY RODDICK: No, my fiancée beat me in our NCAA bracket. Thanks for asking (laughter).
(image via daviscup.com)
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Desperate times/desperate measures? It looks like the struggling Nicole Vaidisova is making some much needed changes to her entourage.
The Czech, who lost in the first round of both Indian Wells + Miami, has decided to drop her stepfather, Alex Kodat, as coach and has taken on David Felgate. Felgate is best known as the coach of the now-retired Tim Henman.
Nicole has quickly fallen in the rankings after becoming a mainstay in the top-10; she now sits at No. 17 but could drop more since she has a number of points to defend this summer.
I wondered aloud (as have many) during Indian Wells if the 18-year old's relationship with Radek Stepanek was a distraction. I guess we'll all have a better idea once she hits the dirt in Berlin - Felgate's first tournament as coach for Nicole.
(image via Getty)
+ THURSDAY NETCORDS: Serena, Nikolay, Tim...French Davis Cup team implodes, Tennis Channel Open to Tampa and more
- RIP: Former Austrian doubles player Daniela Klemenschits died Wednesday after battling cancer. She was 25.
- Davis Cup doodles: Aussie Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (knee injury) + Richard Gasquet (blisters???) have pulled out of the tie this weekend against defending champs the US, while Miami champ Nikolay Davydenko will sit out the opening singles rubber against when Russia takes on the Czech Republic. Captain Shamil Tarpischev decided to give him time to rest. ESPN.com's Ravi Ubha has a tie-by-tie breakdown.
- Grass court tennis: Tim Henman, who dodged protesters during his leg of the Olympic torch relay, will be joining the BBC as a commentator for this year's Wimbledon. Men's Wimby warm-up Nottingham will be played at Eastbourne starting next season creating the seventh men's + women's combined event on the tours. Nottingham's consolation prize? A combined men's + women's Challenger event during the second week of the French Open.
- Serbian stories: You know you've made it when your country puts your mug on a stamp, right? I guess that can be said for Ana Ivanovic + Jelena Jankovic as well as Novak Djokovic who all received the honor. And speaking of Ana, apparently the sexy Serb would like to meet a certain Wentworth Miller of FOX's Prison Break. I hope she knows that he might be rallying for another team - oops!
- Serena bandwagon: We love her, we hate her, we love her again, we're frustrated by her, we love her again + again. But the 40 young girls from Miami-Dade County who got to meet the 8-time Grand Slammer won't mind - they have real respect for her.
- Olympics news: Meet Rodney Harmon, the head coach for the US tennis Olympic team.
- On the move? Reports have surfaced that The Tennis Channel Open may be moving from Las Vegas to Tampa after the Tennis Channel sold the tourney to the ATP.
- Concrete Elbow: Find out who's head-of-the-class and who's failing miserably in the first quarter, at least according to TENNIS.com's Steve Tignor.
(image via Getty)
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Just some tennis baller eye candy on a slow news day...
Here's Robin Soderling practicing in Buenos Aires today. The Swedes are preparing to battle the Argentineans in Davis Cup this weekend.
I've never really thought of him as eye candy but the Swede is starting to change my mind. Welcome to the shirtless brigade Robin!
(image via Getty)
It looks like the Davis Cup rumor I wrote about back in February is true - the ITF + ATP announced today that ranking points will be award to ballers playing in the team event beginning next season.
In a statement the ITF explained their decision saying,
The addition of ranking points for all live singles and doubles rubbers is an added incentive for players to represent their nations in Davis Cup.ATP executive chairman Etienne de Villiers said,
The new ATP tour structure for 2009 is about providing fans, broadcasters and sponsors with the very best circuit possible. Like the tour, Davis Cup is a key component to the growth and future of tennis.Click here to see the full schedule from 2009-2013 and the breakdown of how points will be awarded.
Next up: Fed Cup!
(image via daviscup.com)
So what's up with Andy Murray these days?
After tumbling out of the top 20 after his second-round defeat to Mario Ancic in Miami, the Scot decided to add another coach to his already large entourage for the clay-court swing: two-time French Open finalist Alex Corretja. Andy believes Alex's experience on the dirt will translate to his game saying,
I met him a couple of times last year, had lunch with him at one of the tournaments at the end of the year in Madrid and I thought he'd be a good guy to work with. Purely because I haven't played much on the clay lately and he's got a lot of experience and will teach me again how to do the things I used to do on the clay.If his fitness and head are in check, Andy should be a factor through Roland Garros.
In other news, the 20-year old announced he will be participating in the controversial Beijing Olympics. Though his fellow Brit, Tim Henman, endured a hectic torch relay this past weekend Andy isn't concerned with the political atmosphere surrounding these Games:
For me, the Olympics is more about the sport. I'm just concentrating and looking forward to playing in the tennis. I'm not a politician.(image via AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Venus Williams announced she'll be withdrawing from all tournaments indefinitely for an undisclosed medical reason.
Last season, the former No. 1 was diagnosed with anemia after winning her fourth title Wimbledon title but then suffered lethargy and dizzy spells during the US Open. And now this news...cryptic, eh?
If anyone has any more information out there, let me know. In any case, I wish V well.
(image via AP)
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
The former tennis pro was the 2007 GLAAD Media Awards Special Honoree, in part for the creation of her Rainbow Card credit card, which has raised more than $2 million for LGBT nonprofit organizations. Navratilova also serves as AARP’s health and fitness ambassador and was signed as the Tennis Channel’s primary commentator for all Grand Slam tournaments in 2008. But she still finds the time to play international exhibition matches against other past tennis champs.
Additionally, the 18-time Grand Slam champion will be appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Show today with fellow tennis legend Chris Evert to discuss their long-standing friendship.
Greg Hernandez over at Out in Hollywood has the story and two clips of their most memorable clashes.
(image via out.com + oprah.com)
Anna Wintour is only a fan of Roger Federer's and no one else - even more than tennis itself apparently.
The Vogue fashionatrix was scheduled to travel down to Miami to watch her beloved Fed win his first title of the season at the Sony Ericsson Open, until Andy Roddick foiled her plans.
According to the NY Post's Page Six Anna "canceled her trip and her box at the Luxury Collection Collectors Club VIP lounge after he was defeated by Roddick. 'She had no interest in anyone but Roger,' our spy said."
Wow - who knew her obsession with Fed ran so deep. Mirka beware!
(image via Getty)
Polo Ralph Lauren, who already provide fashion for Wimbledon and the US Open, will be dressing the US Olympians including our tennis ballers in Beijing this summer.
The preppy brand took over for retailer Roots after Norman Bellingham, chief operating officer of the USOC and a former Olympic kayaker, opted for dressing the athletes in a "classic and more formal manner."
A report in the Wall St. Journal today stated:
We know we won't see Andy Roddick in this gear since he decided to skip the Summer Games. So the biggest mystery then is which athletes will be actually be attending and wearing these duds?
At the Olympic Village and at the Closing Ceremonies, athletes' wardrobes will include V-neck tennis sweaters and ties, classic Polo mesh shirts with "Beijing" written in big Chinese characters across the front and cargo pants -- all in a patriotic palette of red, white and blue. The Olympic logo featured on the new uniforms may include a replica of a crest with stars and stripes used by the 1932 U.S. Olympic team at the Los Angeles Games. Polo ponies of varying sizes will also make an appearance on the garments.In keeping with Olympic tradition, the athletes' Opening Ceremonies attire won't be revealed until Aug. 8 -- the day of the Opening Ceremonies.
(image via WSJ.com)
It seems as though Hollywood is taking a liking to Jelena Jankovic.
Woody Harrelson + Owen Wilson were spotted in the stands on Saturday watching the Serb succumb to Serena Williams in the Miami final. Jelena made mention of the celebrities in the stands during her post-match conference and it looks like the two stars were listening.
According to her blog Jelena, Woody, Owen, + Jennifer Aniston all went out for dinner after the match:
After the final was over, I got to meet actors Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson. They were accompanied with their producer since they are making a movie here in Miami. They came to watch the match and they seem to enjoy tennis. All of them invited me to have dinner with them so I accepted the invitation. They are really great individuals and I had a great laugh with them. They are outgoing and very natural which I really liked. I am very communicative and I like when others are like that as well.
And, it seems as though Jelena + Woody became very friendly over dinner. Maybe they'll get to spend time together now that her family is building a home in LA.
(images via jj-jelenajankovic.com)
Monday, April 7, 2008
Serena Williams, who just tied Steffi Graf with the most Miami titles (5) after her win over Jelena Jankovic this weekend, wants to make sure we really believe her this time when she says tennis is No. 1 in her life.
But what about the many off-court activities that have distracted her in the past, including acting? "I actually haven't done anything in acting in a while because I have been so focused," said ReRe in a post-match press conference.
So why was she just guest-starring as herself on the CW series The Game? Was it really her or just her evil (acting) twin??
I think ReRe should save the drama for the small screen and leave it there.
(image via AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Miami finalist Rafael Nadal isn't happy - and it's not because he lost a winnable final to Nikolay Davydenko. The World No. 2, who recently blogged about his annoyance with doubles policies, thinks the March US hardcourt swing is too tightly scheduled and compromises the success at the tourneys for many European players, including himself.
After Rafa dismissed nemesis Tomas Berdych on Friday he told the press,
It's not fair to have one month, two tournaments, and after go back to Europe and we have to play three Masters Series on clay. We only have three Masters Series (Monte Carlo, Rome and Hamburg) during all the season, and we have three in four weeks. For us it's terrible. And three Masters Series in the middle of the biggest tournament on clay in the world: Barcelona. So if you see the calendar, that is unbelievable.And what does the 21-year old blame for the 'unbelievable' scheduling in his mind?
I know here it's very important, the college basketball, because I saw always the American players and the men in the locker room watching always this. But, we can't have the (ATP) thinking about the college basketball, no? So we are 100 per cent disappointed about this (scheduling) decision of the ATP.According to Rafa, he's not the only baller feeling this way either:
European players are very angry about these decisions. For me it's terrible. I'm a clay player, but I can play very well on all surface. But playing four weeks it's impossible if you are playing well.Me thinks Rafa doth complain too much. A baller can be successful at both tournaments and sometimes win the Indian Wells-Miami double, though it's rare. But the same argument could be made for American ballers and their love for the European clay-court swing, including Roland Garros, and then the grass-court warm-ups leading to Wimbledon. If you throw a Davis Cup match on foreign soil in the mix, which falls right after Wimby, you're screwed.
I believe the schedule is too long in general, but the it effects everyone in one way or another. That's the way the yellow ball bounces so suck it up.
(image via AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Nike has launched a new commercial and website in Hong Kong for their Nike Training program. The spot features Roger Federer and Maria "Shriek"apova in a "behind-the-scenes" look into their training practices.
Roger is shown performing leg presses, shoulder presses, and lunges with a medicine ball while Maria sharpens her footwork and eye-hand coordination by jumping rope and grabbing at tennis balls being fed to her. Fascinating.
In addition to our tennis ballers, the spot also features stars from other sports including boxing champ Manny Pacquiao, basketball player Kobe Bryant, footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and hurdler Xiang Liu.
Check it out:
(video via starmometer.com)
I was thinking that one of the actors was in that movie, if you know, White Men Can't Jump. I was feeling when I was playing that match, I thought, White Girls Can't Play, you know.I guess Serena could make anyone feel that way, whatever color you are...though papa Richard may have something to say about it.
- Jelena Jankovic on seeing Woody Harrelson in the stands during the Miami final
(image via AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Retired tennis baller Tim Henman participated in the controversial Olympic torch relay this past Sunday in London, where some of the crowd protesting against China's human rights records attempted to grab and extinguish the flame.
In his typically understated English manner Tim, who had to be surrounded by security, told the Associated Press,
"There was definitely a bit of an edge."Yeah - having throngs of angry, pissed-off protesters lunging at you while trying to keep a toothy smile on your face would make for a pretty edgy afternoon, and then some. Ya think?
(image via Getty)
Hollywooders Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson were spotted watching Serena Williams win her fifth Miami title over Jelena Jankovic on Saturday and Nikolay Davydenko defeat Rafael Nadal in Miami, his second Masters Series win on Sunday. They join fellow celebs Terrell Owens and a lippy Brittany Murphy who also made an appearance at the tourney last week.
These boys truly love their tennis!
(image via Getty)
I'd like to introduce Jimmy, a new contributor to DtL! He'll be periodically penning previews + wrap-ups of tennis' major tourneys for us. So, without further ado, heeeere's Jimmy:
Another Sony Ericsson Open has come and gone, complete with the usual assortment of upsets, off-court antics, on-court antics, and one seriously hideous dress. This tournament is supposed to be about the actual tennis, but you wouldn’t know that this year with the abhorred handling of the broadcast by Fox Sports Network, which left even the professionals struggling to take a peek at a match or two. But that's all fine and dandy, because what was happening off the court was just as interesting, if not more so, than what occurred on it. A look back:
Part 1 – The Men’s Side
Perhaps the biggest story of the tournament was Andy Roddick. On the heels of his continued charity work, Roddick seemingly completed his transformation from the bad boy of the ATP tour to elder statesmen with his engagement to model Brooklyn Decker. And, what do you know, that lit a fire under A-Rod as he managed to defeat Roger Federer in the quarterfinals, his first win over Fed in almost five years! So he slays the beast and he gets the girl? I’m so jealous. Expect a baby announcement soon, if only to bet Federer to the punch.
Speaking of Federer, how many more “flukes” are we going to allow before we call a spade a spade? He lost in the semis at both the Australian Open and Indian Wells, now he falls in the quarters to A-Rod, whom he has basically owned ever since they started playing against each other. And I’m not sure how much longer the mono excuse is going to hold up. How did he get mono anyway? I thought only college students majoring in face-sucking get that?! The season started shaky for Fed down under and now it appears he’s sinking lower and lower.
In other ATP news, who can forget this indelible image Mikhail Youzhny’s bloody face after smacking himself repeatedly with his racquet during his match against Nicolas Almagro? Prior to this, Youzhny was best known for his cute if slightly sinister military-style salute (a remnant of his childhood days spent in Soviet youth programs?). I know coaches always tell their players to get their heads in the game, but this is ridiculous (ZING!). At the very least, Youzhny’s profile certainly increased tenfold after the incident, which is more than his consistent yet unspectacular game will ever do for him.
Speaking of consistency, Nikolay Davydenko entered the tournament ranked #4 in the world. I’m not quite sure how he has achieved that ranking since I honestly cannot recall the last major tournament he won - but now I can because he just won this one! Davydenko played Dream Killer at the 2008 SEO, taking out rising Serbian Janko Tipsarevic in the quarters (those Serbs are everywhere!), ending A-Rod’s fairy-tale like run in the semis, and crushing Nadal in the finals. Both Roddick and Nadal were coming off big wins against Federer and Blake and are no strangers to winning big tournaments, which makes Davydenko’s triumph all the more surprising. Perhaps now he can put those match-fixing scandals behind him. And if he betted on himself to win the tourney, well than more power to him.
Of course there were so many happenings during the tournament that I didn’t get to. But if the last two weeks have taught us anything, is that the ATP tour is swiftly becoming a free-for-all. You know things are crazy when the men’s game is even less predictable than the women’s. If you had told me at the beginning of the year that Federer and Nadal would still be without a tournament title in April, I would have scoffed. But now here we are, and we haven’t even entered clay court season!
Stay tuned for Part II of my review of the Sony Ericsson Open, where I'll turn my attention to the ladies...
(image via AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Maria + Lebron team up
Rafa blogs, talks doubles
Jelena works cell phone fashion
A-Rod IS getting hitched and Brooklyn has the rock to prove it
It's all about pastels + polka-dots in Miami
ReRe + A-Rod give good quote
Ivo goes TTK
Youzhny the YouTube sensation!
Nole and Maria sittin' in a tree...
Common checks out Miami (and ReRe, of course)
A-Rod buys Manhattan digs
The Spring Court sneaker makes its move
Who's the true No.1?
Maria as Pris for Tag Heuer
Fed + James get political
Miami draws famous faces, some with new parts
Nole goes home
FRIDAY: Rafa, Fed, Ana as Maria...Jana vs. Martina II, FSN still sucks and more
(image via Al Bello/Getty Images)